Coping with Female Fertility Testing - Initial Fertility Consultation
An initial fertility consultation is a fundamental step in the treatment of female fertility problems; in fact, 85% of fertility problems are diagnosed following a preliminary fertility consultation. Your first appointment with your fertility specialist can help to diagnose and assess the causes of your infertility as well as to establish methods that can improve your fertility and increase your chances of getting pregnant, such as assisted reproduction.
As such, being prepared for your initial consultation is important and can help you play an active role in the processes of fertility testing and treatment, while helping to alleviate some of the physical and emotional stress involved in the process of undergoing infertility tests.
What to Expect at Your First Fertility Appointment
At an initial fertility appointment, your fertility specialist will work to compile and assess your medical and reproductive health history. For example, she will ask you about any illnesses or conditions that you may have, which can help play an important role in determining what is causing infertility. She will also ask you to list any medications, such as pain or cold medications, that you are currently taking, as well as information about both your personal and family health history. Your reproductive endocronologist will also ask you about whether you have or have had any sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as these can also affect female fertility.
In addition, your fertility specialist will ask you about your lifestyle, including your diet and exercise regimen. Following a healthy, well-balanced diet can help improve fertility as can exercising regularly. Because having a healthy body mass index (BMI) is also central to female fertility, your reproductive endocrinologist can help to evaluate whether your BMI is indeed adequate.
It is important to bring any fertility charts, such as an ovulation calendar or ovulation predictor, with you to your initial fertility appointment, as these tools can help your fertility specialist in making an accurate diagnosis. Schedule your initial appointment for the second or third day of your menstrual cycle, as this will enable fertility testing, including blood tests such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) tests and prolactin tests, to be conducted immediately.
Attending your first fertility appointment with your partner is also beneficial, as he can help provide information about his own medical and reproductive health history. In addition, preliminary male fertility tests, such as a semen analysis test, can be conducted at this time.
How to Prepare for Fertility Testing
Following these guidelines can help you to prepare for both your initial fertility appointment as well as for preliminary fertility testing:
- follow your reproductive endocronologist's instructions carefully; not doing so could hinder the results of fertility tests and make diagnosis more difficult. Jot down any questions you have beforehand and don't be afraid to ask them, no matter how insignificant they may seem
- educate yourself regarding the female fertility testing process; find out about information such as what you need to do to prepare for specific tests and what the testing procedure, as well as fertility test cost information
- learn about follow up procedures, including information about recovery time and any side effects or risks associated with different fertility tests
Following your initial fertility appointment, you will likely undergo further testing as necessary in order to establish the best method of infertility treatment for your individual case.